Randy Welters, Sooke business owner of the Barking Dog (co-owned with Debi Anderson), has opened up a second store in Sidney. Besides the thrill and added workload of running a second location, Welters is driving more than ever.
He frequently drives Highway 14 (aka Sooke Rd) at night, three days a week.
His observations, in a nutshell, is that the highway is fraught with dangers, primarily because of the dark conditions and the lack of adequate visibility of road lines. Following is an email Welters penned to BC Highways:
“I travel from Sidney to Sooke around 6:00 p.m. three nights a week, and the most dangerous stretch of road I believe I have ever encountered is the section where the four lanes starts all the way to Cooper Cove in Sooke, when it is raining.
“The yellow center lines are worn away for the most part, especially on the curves, and the white side line is worse. The road reflectors are spaced inconsistently or are very worn down.
“When you compare the line brilliance and reflector visibility with the Veterans Memorial section from Kelly Rd to Sooke Rd it is like being on a different planet.
“When it is raining, with the constant traffic both ways on Hwy 14, it is a dangerous trip unless you are in a big truck etc. I challenge you to travel from Langford to Sooke in a car, not a truck, around 6:00 p.m. on a weekday, when it is raining and I think you will see a serious situation has evolved. I hope your department will do something to fix this.”
In the response he received from the ministry, it was noted that road lines on Highway 14 receive a new coat of paint every year. It was last painted in the summer of 2016.
“Our new water based paints are not very effective in dark/rain conditions,” writes Ryan Evanoff of BC Highways in an email response to Welters. “The new paint formulas are used due to new federal restrictions on lead based paints, for environmental reasons. I agree with you that navigating that stretch in the dark/rain can be difficult.”
Evanoff said there were things that the ministry was doing locally to “try and sort this issue out. Provincially, we have undertaken a paint test study to determine longer lasting and more visible options. The test has completed and the results are being reviewed by headquarters staff to potentially have a new paint formulation used in the upcoming rehab season.”
They are also have their maintenance contractor complete an assessment of the existing reflectors on the highway, with a target date of completion in the spring.
“Reflectors which have been damaged or worn out will be replaced and we will consider adding new pieces to the route (as much as doubling the current distribution),” wrote Evanoff. “I hope to have that all completed by the spring.”